When You Work At a Museum...

For the last time, this is a museum. Not Star Trek.

When the design team asks conservation, with a very serious face, to just put all the magnets in the demagnetized acetone so they don’t all get stuck together.

When Commissions Go Awry…

When your Gallery commissions an artist to create a year-long participatory installation to encourage visitors of all ages to engage meaningfully with contemporary works of art…

And the artist installs a chair that makes fart noises when you sit on it. 
Editor’s note: My husband really wants to know what museum this is in so we (he) can visit it. Once we visited the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, where they have a whole interactive exhibit on flatulence. Long story short, I had to drag him away/threaten to leave him in downtown Baltimore and now no other exhibit will ever compare. For him. 

When you work on a project with an artist for months, feel good about everything, and then they say, “What?! That is not what my work is about at all!”

And you make the changes they demand, but then they ask to go back to the first version, which was wrong last week but apparently right today.

Is it too late to completely rewrite the catalogue? 

…and repeat for the rest of your life. 

After you finish dressing a display form in a 300 year old silk wedding gown that’s just been conserved.

How it feels when you start collaborating with a different museum on a new project.

It’s the only explanation that makes sense.

You have 48 hours to plan a public event for 1000 people. And a budget of $0. But you did it.



The Stages of Grief when a treasured work is deaccessioned.


"When Northampton Borough Council sells Northampton Museum and Art Gallery’s 4,000-year-old Egyptian statue at Christie’s for £15.76 million, museum professionals across the UK experience the Kübler-Ross stages of grief…

My ‘favourite’ part is when the council leader noted that “the statue has not been on display for four years, and no-one had asked to see it in that time.”

1. Denial


2. Anger 


3. Bargaining 


4. Depression 


Ed: The submission stopped at Stage 4. I think Stage 5: Acceptance is a ways off for them, but will look something like this: 


W. T. Actual F.

Sometimes someone will love your museum so much they will feel moved to sneak in and scatter their relative’s ashes in their favorite exhibit.  


How we felt after we realized what that trail of dust and bone fragments was. 


Then we had to clean it up. And there was really only one thing we could do.  


Something pretty damn romantic happened at the buildingmuseum today… 

This could be us, but you playing.

Trying to get venues to sign on to your traveling exhibitions can turn you into a sleazy, overzealous suitor.


But even after all those emails and long talks on the phone, they just won’t commit. 


Is it the fee?

Is it the schedule? 

I’ll change for you. 

I just want to make you happy!


And even though you might feel like this: 


This might be closer to the truth.